Per an announcement from the White House today, the United States will begin the process of normalizing its relations with Cuba. The announcement brings with it significant implications for the agricultural trade sector, and as producers of the nation’s leading farm export, the American Soybean Association (ASA) cheered the news with the following statement from President Wade Cowan:
“Soybean growers are particularly excited about today’s announcement, specifically because of the promise that the Cuban marketplace holds for American beans, but also in the larger scope of trade’s ability to overcome even the most challenging geopolitical barriers. Trade builds bridges between nations, but it also generates real and concrete value for American farmers by expanding and strengthening our opportunities in foreign markets. Whether it’s the burgeoning Cuban demand for pork, poultry and dairy or that nation’s expanded demand for cooking oils, American soybeans have a significant market opening just off our own shores.
“More important in today’s announcement, however, are the implications for the Cuban people. While we have been able to sell our products in the country for decades, our Cuban customers were unable to secure the same financing and credit opportunities as other trade partners. Conversely, the restrictions on financing made it difficult for our products to compete in that marketplace. The easing of these restrictions will make it easier for American soy to gain a foothold in the market, but more importantly, it will enable the Cuban people to purchase the products that they need and want as their market develops.”